Red light is hot on the health scene. Skincare clinics, saunas, gyms, and dermatologists alike are touting its benefits. With a click of the on-switch, red light promises to work wonders for your skin, soothe aching muscles, and promote healthy tissue repair.
You’re probably wondering if red light lives up to all the hype? Let’s learn about red light and its benefits.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light delivers concentrated wavelengths of natural light into your skin, where cells absorb it. This safe technology supports the production of collagen, elastin, and fibroblasts (common cells found in the connective tissue of mammals). Research shows it may also enhance ATP production or the energy source found in our cells. Plus, red light promotes healthy circulation, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to tissue in the treated areas.1
In other words, as the red light glows, all sorts of good things happen. This practice can lead to more youthful, vibrant skin, and happier muscles. Many healthcare and wellness practitioners offer red light options in the office, and there is a growing selection of wellness products that let you safely and effectively use red light technology in the comfort of your home.
All Red Light Is Not Created Equal
For the red light to be effective, it’s essential to choose the right wavelength and dosing parameters. There are significant variations in efficacy based on the wavelength, power density, and energy of the device, as well as the treatment time. Experts note that 660 nanometers (nm) and 850 nanometers (nm) help promote the best responses from the body.
Red Light Therapy Benefits for Wellness
Changes in our bodies and decreases in hormone levels can lower collagen and elastin in our tissues. These two powerful proteins are responsible for skin firmness and elasticity, which is why we see wrinkles appearing in early middle age as collagen and elastin production slows down. Red light stimulates tissue to support higher production of these important proteins. Experts also believe that red light therapy contributes to a significant increase in blood circulation, allowing tissues to receive more oxygen and promote healing.
In an independent 2014 study, researchers determined that low-level light therapy (LLLT) in the red and near-infrared ranges “appears to have a wide range of applications of use in dermatology, especially in indications where stimulation of healing, reduction of inflammation, reduction of cell death and skin rejuvenation are required.”2
Is Red Light Therapy Harmful?
This is the beauty of red light — healthcare experts have reportedly seen little to no risk using red light and it has been deemed safe and effective. A 2013 study showed “almost complete lack of reports of side effects or adverse events associated with LLLT”.3
Researchers also predicted that “the day may not be far off when most homes will have a light source (most likely a LED device) to be used for aches, pains, cuts, bruises, joints”4 and we see that forecast coming true just years later. With at-home solutions growing in popularity, it’s an exciting opportunity for people to take wellness into their own hands with confidence. As always, talk with your healthcare provider about any concerns.